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MarcusAbramovitch

1303 karmaJoined Apr 2020

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68

I haven't disagree voted this. I'm the #1 trader on Manifold. I doubt prediction markets will be useful here. In fact, I think I could probably use prediction markets to "screw with people". For example "watch out for X, Manifold thinks there is a 15% chance that they have a sexual assault charge in the next year".

I agree that less money to the IRS will benefit the wealthy more but this is because the IRS already mainly audits wealthier people and thus less audits disproportionately reduces audits on the wealthy. This is similar to how tax cuts nearly always help the wealthy... because the wealthy pay the vast majority of taxes. It's nearly impossible to cut taxes without the wealthy paying far less dollars in taxes than a middle class/poor person.

While more expensive to pursue cases against the wealthy, it is more than worth it when it comes to the increase in reward.

Some things to point out:

1. Often, things become crimes that get prosecuted when they are done by the wealthy vs. normal people. To be clear, the reason for this is that governments/prosecutors want money and there is a lot of money in going after Kjell Inge Røkke for an illegal boating license but there isn't for a father letting his 15-year old child drive in a parking lot. There's a lot of money going after a billionaire for tax evasion but not in someone having a side hustle where they make money under the table selling $50k worth of widgets per year. This is going to lead to billionaires' actions being surveilled more and thus gone after for crimes more often than the average person. The reward makes it worth it. Billionaires will have far more legal/monetary resources and thus you should naively expect more settlements, particularly without an admission of wrongdoing.

I suppose I recommend people think something like "ok, how bad was this really" when they look at billionaire crimes. Perhaps a litmus test of "would I remain friends with my average non-EA friend if I found out that they had done this"

2. The Giving Pledge has no restrictions on the charitable causes that signatories are allowed to support. As such, unfortunately, as you would likely expect, the vast majority of donations basically go to vanity projects to improve self-image that have little to do with trying to improve the world, let alone try to do so effectively. The median philanthropic gift in terms of impact is something like a generic climate organization with many philanthropic gifts going to building a building at a college to get their name on it or arts museums and such. A non-negligible amount is also tax evasion.

I feel quite able to give >$500k/year. I also think more money would make a lot more "just completely fund the thing" instead of people throwing $1000-2000 for "signal boosting" or hoping others come along to fund the thing.

I feel I could do similar and even larger amounts for the animal welfare space.

I'd encourage a lot of EA orgs and independent researchers to apply to these. One of the ways it will be necessary for EA to fund itself as it grows and potentially becomes more funding constrained is to get funding from outside the direct EA community.

100% agree that there are some very bad incentives at play to make it very likely that people who aren't good fits join this type of arrangement and I agree that Nonlinear shouldn't be "let off the hook" so to speak. I think there should have been some precautionary things in place from the get go. Lots more things

Everybody feels that they are a super savvy investor who will get above market returns and thus "others should donate now while I seek great financial returns to donate more later"

I've thought about this tradeoff a lot. I feel the same way. I have a realized APR over the last 4 years of around 300%. I've also donated ~20% over this time. I can imagine some think that it would have been better for me to continue to invest this money but:

1) I by no means expect this rate of return to continue as I am investing larger sums

2) What if stuff didn't go in my favour

I haven't figured out a better answer then "yes, you should always donate for several reasons, every year". There are also non-financial factors at play here like value drift as well to consider as well as stable ecosystems/whatever the opposite of the unilateralist curse is.

I also want to push back (as a crypto investor myself who runs a crypto fund) on the idea that we know a bull run is coming. We don't. Crypto is now a much much larger market than 2012/2013 when EA had a lot of edge investing in crypto and I really doubt we are going to have another macro free money period again.

Bitcoin is an $800B marketcap asset and crypto as a whole is 1.7T. You should expect far greater efficiency now and that retail investors/people with other jobs won't do nearly as well as the pros.

Copying from the Facebook Group

Fellow crypto investor here (since 2015/16), I now run a crypto fund. A few points to make.

1. In the short term, way more money is made on getting in on trends before they are big than on fundamentals, at least they have historically. You wanted to get in on NFTs early. You wanted to get in on "AI tokens" early. You wanted to get in on yield farming early. You wanted to get in on ICOs early. You wanted to get in on dog tokens early. You wanted to get in on anything trending early. Etc. It didn't matter what project fundamentals were. Trends cause things to go up. There is a large degree of pyramic scheme/ponzinomics involved. You make money by getting in before others. They pump your bags and you dump on them.

2. In the long term, fundamentals are all that matter. Vast majority of junk dies with the founders/insiders/smart traders scheming off a good amount with bags held by retail traders.

3. I want to push back on the idea that we know a bullrun is coming. We don't. There are some bullish narratives around but also, bitcoin/eth are already up like 3x. What if the bullrun already happened and this is the "cycle's top"? What if the Bitcoin ETFs don't get approved? What if they do nothing? There is no law of nature that causes crypto cycles due to halvings, in fact, you should expect those to be way less prominent now that bitcoin is much larger and most of the coins that will ever exist are already out there. Pompliano's supply squeeze or whatever based on miners is stupid. I think the last one was most likely coincidental due to ZIRP and I don't suppose you have great macro forecasts to suggest we are going back to these territories that haven't been priced into the market.

4. I want to caution people from thinking they have alpha. I think there are good reasons to think EAs can have alpha. Quasi-insider information from being so close to the tech scene, greater understanding of AI progress and effects, some first principles thinking, just being smarter, etc. But usually, retail traders don't have alpha. They are the ones who think they do and pay the people that actually do. You have to be crystal clear as to where your edge comes from and not expand outside of that. Why do you expect this group to be better able to predict a large scale crypto cycle better than people who do this full time with teams of super well paid analysts and quant traders?

I'm not a big EMH proponent, but this group has had a lot of success and now I think has gotten too cocky and now thinks that even weak-EMH doesn't apply to us.

Many people spend money besides rent+food+travel, so this sounds exaggerated.

It looks like they are bought phones, laptops, SIM cards, productivity tools, etc.

Probably many of the 19 are being remotely employed.

I know of only two people who worked at Nonlinear. They were both in person. Both had good experiences.

Reading Lukas_Gloor’s comment (and to a lesser extent, this still helpful one from Erica_Edelman) made me realize what I think is the big disagreement between people and why they are talking past each other. 

It comes down to how you would feel about doing Alice/Chloe’s job. 

Some people, like the Nonlinear folks and most of those sympathetic to them, think something like the following:

“Why is she such an ungrateful whiner? She has THE dream job/life. She gets to travel the world with us (which is awesome since we can do anything and this is what we chose to do), living in some insanely cool places with super cool and successful people AND she has a large degree of autonomy over what she does AND we are building her up and like 15% of her job is some menial tasks that we did right before she joined and come on it’s fine. How can you complain about the smallest unpleasant thing when the rest of your life rocks and this is your FIRST job out of college when this lifestyle is reserved for multimillionaires? She gets to live the life of a multimillionaire and is surrounded by cool EA people”

Others look at Alice/Chloe’s life and think something like the following:

“Wow, that really sucks to have to follow these people around all the time, doing whatever they want to do, living away from the comfort of your own home. She thought she was going to do operations work for a cool longtermist startup that was expanding but instead, she’s always on the clock, paid very little, and being told that getting to travel alongside them and live like them is a PERK! Run away from these people as fast as possible! How is anyone defending these rich, entitled, exploiters? Of course, she would exaggerate some things, it felt like that!”

Look at Lukas’ comment again and how they each describe a certain experience in St. Barth’s. 

From Emerson/Nonlinear’s perspective, they didn’t bring someone on to do some stuff 9-5. They brought someone on to be one of them which includes doing stuff for a couple of hours whenever they pop up and this is just what it’s like to be in a faster pace startup (how Nonlinear describes themself and how Emerson has always lived and how he built his previous companies). It was in the job description. She’s going on this trip too after all and someone has to call the places to organize. Alright, she’s whining again so I’ll just take over, whatever.

From Chloe’s perspective, she’s been following these people around for the past month and always seeing them and wants a break from them and it’s finally her supposed day off so she wants it off but they randomly decide to do a day excursion. Well, that sucks. Now she is forced to spend the day with them AND do stupid planning tasks trying to convince some random guy to let her plan this last minute just because Emerson wants to. She then tells Kat that she doesn’t want to have to work on her weekends.

Look at Erica's comment. If you think this is like being a remote travelling nanny who should be getting paid extra for the travel but you are getting paid less, it sucks. If you think this is joining some cool remote/travelling charity startup, this is awesome.

This also explains why some people (as Kat would say, 19/21 people) who joined Nonlinear under this arrangement had a great time. They got to live a cool life, with a lot of freedom, in cool places. To them, this was a great experience. They got to pocket $12k/year into savings and live like a king. 

Essentially, what I think happened is there was a really bad fit (and there are some bad incentives that are also at play here that will take too long to go into with regards to selecting a candidate) and different expectations between the parties. Nonlinear wanted to start adding people to their crew and expanding their team who travelled the world and worked on AI safety and wanting people to slot right into how they do things; taking spontaneous vacations, living in exotic places where it’s always sunny, getting shit done regardless of who's job it is etc. Alice/Chloe might have thought they wanted it but didn’t know and so they tried it out and they definitely didn’t like it but didn't feel they could quit (Whether this was true or not. Remember that while they could probably leave whenever, they might not have felt like they could for reasons that are hard to explain).

What should have happened here? Hard to say. I think a gradual ramping up to this is super necessary and hiring people (from Nonlinear’s perspective: adding people to the team) after a couple of interviews that you had never really spent a lot of time with or lived with before is ill-advised. A 1/2-week work trial seems especially necessary here. But Alice/Chloe also needed to be doing some constant introspection from day 1 if they wanted to stay here.

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